The audiogram is a graph which gives a detailed description of your hearing ability and which can be described as a picture of your sense of hearing.
A hearing test is performed by your audiologist and is comprised of a number of tests which can help determine whether or not a patient is suffering from hearing loss. The results from the hearing tests are often displayed in the form of an audiogram.
Based on the audiogram, among other things, your audiologist can tell whether or not you are suffering from hearing loss and, if so, determine how serious it is.
The audiogram illustrates your hearing ability by showing your hearing threshold at various frequencies. Hearing threshold is an indication of how soft a sound may get before it is inaudible. A hearing threshold of between 0 and 25 dB is considered normal.
The vertical axis of the audiogram represents sound volume or intensity which is measured in decibels (dB). The more one moves down the axis, the louder the sound becomes. This corresponds to turning up the volume on a radio. Zero decibel at the top of the axis represents the softest sound a person is normally able to hear, and is not an indication that you cannot hear sounds at all.
The horizontal axis of the audiogram represents sound frequency or pitch measured in Hertz (Hz). Sound frequency increases gradually the further one moves to the right along the axis. This movement can be compared to playing on the left side of a piano and gradually moving to the right side where the tone becomes more and more high-pitched. Frequencies between 500 Hz and 3000 Hz are most commonly used during ordinary conversation.
During a hearing test, the results are recorded on the audiogram by means of red Os for the right ear and blue Xs for the left one. The resulting red and blue lines show your hearing threshold for each ear, and the results may well differ.
Generally speaking, the more markings below 25 dB or more, at frequencies which are normally used in conversation, the more difficult it is to hear that is being said. And in situations with a lot of background noise it will often be even more difficult to hear properly.
Mild Hearing Loss: On average, the quietest sounds that people can hear with their better ear are between 25 and 40 dB. People who suffer from mild hearing loss have some difficulties keeping up with conversations, especially in noisy surroundings.
Moderate Hearing Loss: On average, the quietest sounds heard by people with their better ear are between 40 and 70 dB. People who suffer from moderate hearing loss have difficulty keeping up with conversations when not using a hearing aid.
Severe Hearing Loss: On average, the quietest sounds heard by people with their better ear are between 70 and 95 dB. People who suffer fro severe hearing loss will benefit from powerful hearing aids, but often rely heavily on lip-reading even when they are using hearing aids. Some also use sign language.
Profound Hearing Loss: On average, the quietest sounds heard by people with their better ear are from 95 dB and more. People who suffer fro profound hearing loss are very hard of hearing and rely mostly on lip-reading and / or sign language.